The United Arab Emirates’ secret services arrested and detained two activists Wednesday, a day after they were acquitted by an Emirati court, an NGO told Al-Akhbar.
Ahmad al-Hammadi and Mohammed al-Shaami were part of the “UAE 94,” a diverse group of doctors, academics, lawyers, judges and other professionals who were accused of building a secret network to plot a coup against the Emirati government.
Most of the 94 defendants were convicted and given heavy sentences ranging from three to 15 years in prison, with 56 condemned to 10 years in prison.
According to a source at Swiss NGO AlKarama, which has been closely monitoring the “UAE 94” case, Hammadi and Shaami were arrested on Wednesday and are currently being detained in a secret location.
“The reason of their arrest is unknown,” AlKarama told Al-Akhbar, adding that they were the only two defendants acquitted in Tuesday’s trial who weren’t freed.
The organization said that two relatives of the “UAE 94” had also been arrested, and were also being held in an unknown location since Monday.
The high-profile trial was part of a growing crackdown in the Gulf nation against perceived political or security threats inspired by uprisings in several Middle Eastern nations since 2011.
Dozens of activists have been detained in the past year, in a country where no political opposition is permitted.